It would seem that things are getting harder and harder. The economy is going to pieces; senseless violence is becoming very common and so on. Why is this?
I can’t say that I know but I do know that people are changed by their experience. That’s how we learn. Pain teaches us what to avoid, pleasure shows us what we want, fear steers us away from pain and so on. If someone can learn how this works and has the power to control our environment, then that someone could control how we feel about things and how we react.
Now, this can be viewed as the opinion of one person but if we look back at our recent history we might be able to spot incidents that affected us deeply and perhaps recognize what in those incidents caused a change in us.
As an example that must have affected all of us, take the attack that occurred on 9/11. I’m sure we are all familiar with that date. I remember seeing what was happening in the news before going to work. I remember the horror and the confusion I felt as the towers burned and finally collapsed. I remember the pain felt as the news filled our days with the horror of the victims of that attack. Never mind how the attack occurred or who was really responsible, the moment that it occurred I knew that neither I nor my family would be safe any longer.
Oh yes, I felt terror, I felt pain and I felt hate. I imagine that all of us did and because we did and because of the way we felt, we began to feel insecure, so we began to welcome the efforts of the government to increase security. We welcome the efforts of the government to find and punish the people who we though guilty of those attacks.
Other things changed in us too. Perhaps we never gave any though to the Middle East. Perhaps we did not worry about the Islamic religious centers in the US or the people who went there. All of a sudden we knew they were there and perhaps started to fear and hate the people who seemed capable of such an action. To many those people became the enemy.
Of course, not all of us reacted in the same way. Some might not have even noticed that the event affected them. Some might even claim that it did not affect them at all but we as a people changed. We became more malleable to the idea of war against the Middle East, so we got involved in two very expensive wars.
During the same period of time we started to feel the effect of the free trade agreements. Jobs started to disappear. Private companies started to report big losses and our pay and our benefits started to decline. People around us not only lost their jobs, they could not find jobs in their specialty anywhere because the jobs were either moved overseas or foreigners were brought in to occupy them. Companies were doing everything in their power to lower the cost of their employees. So because of all this more fear and insecurity was piled on top of us.
Now we had more reasons to hate foreigners and see them as enemies. Now we had more things to fear and that caused changes in the way we see life. So we became more callous towards the victims of the economy, to those who fell behind.
Tense, with little pity towards our enemies, callous to the tragedy of our economy, with little hope that things will change, we get hit with the Newtown massacre. Nothing could have waken our insecurity with more force and so we look for solutions but lacking cohesion as a people we have to rely on politicians who have no interest in finding the cause of the problem, so everyone goes after the most obvious symptom, that is the use of guns as the tool for violence.
The point I’m making here is that recent events have changed us. That because of the insecurity generated by the events we live in fear even if we don’t know it and that a person’s mind does not work correctly in the grip of fear. There are many people who know this, so, when events like this happen they come forth to push their ideas, bending events to fit their needs, adding to the confusion and we are malleable to those ideas because our point of view, our feelings are changed by these events.
The events are horrible, monstrous, and capable of hitting us at our most basic emotional level. It doesn’t matter if the events were designed or if they were accidental; they are real to us and so affect the way we think. Then they are smeared all over the news and never completely explained so that doubt and confusion can find fertile soil. In the end we end up bickering with each other, growing more and more perturbed as time moves on, which gives open ground to politicians to do as they will with our government.
Is there are solution? Well, I learned that the way to free myself of pain, any kind of pain, is to face it. Look for the source and it seems to weaken and even go away. The same happens with emotional incidents of any kind, face them and their effect will go away. That helps to clear the mind and lets me find the reasons for the pain. Once that is done I can function better and handle the things life throw at me more efficiently.
The more of us that can get clear headed the better the possibility of handling the corruption of our politicians. Because our government is not corrupt, rather, it’s the politicians who are. Government, like guns, is but a tool that we allow politicians to control. It, the government, will be as good as the politicians who control it and we decide who those politicians are.